Over the past year, my family and I have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. We pay attention to what we are eating by reading labels, limiting sugar, and striving to eat more “real foods”. The mantra that “you are what you eat” has been around forever, but it wasn’t until I really started using essential oils that I realized you’re also what you put on your skin.
It only takes 26 seconds for chemicals you put on your skin to enter your bloodstream. If we are trying to reduce toxins in our diet, why not pay just as much attention to what we put on our skin? We are now making necessary changes to our personal care and household cleaning routines.
We still want our home to be clean and free of pests and harmful germs; but I’ve found that many ingredients found in popular household cleaning products are harmful to our health. In fact, manufacturers don’t even have to reveal to us everything that is included in these products. (Much like our food supply!)
The European government has banned over one thousand times more chemicals than the U.S. Under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, household cleaners are the only household products for which manufacturers are NOT required to list all ingredients. Certain ingredients, like fragrances for example, are considered trade secrets, and government regulations are designed to protect proprietary information.
Some chemicals to watch out for:
Triclosan is classified as a pesticide and probable carcinogen by the EPA. In fact, the EPA gives Triclosan high scores both as a human health risk and as an environmental risk. Look out for labels that state: “antimicrobial protection.” The site, Beyond Pesticides, gives a list of items that contain Triclosan.
Parabens are used as a preservative and not always labeled. It is a cheap way for companies to make their products last longer without collecting bacteria. There are several articles available online worth reading regarding parabens as endocrine disruptors.
“Fragrance” is basically a secret mixture of chemicals. Companies are not required to list these chemicals on product labels. Toluene, which is in fragrances, is a known neurotoxin that causes loss of muscle control, brain damage, headaches, memory loss, and speech, hearing, and vision problems.
It prevents deodorant from drying out, and is also the main ingredient in antifreeze. The EPA considers Propylene Glycol so toxic that they require gloves and goggles when disposing of and burying it. (Check the back of your boxed cake mix… it’s in there too!)
What about “green” cleaners?
It’s obvious why green cleaners have such an appeal; however it’s still just as important to read labels and find brands you can trust. These products are sometimes labeled “green” and “natural” for marketing reasons, and to charge more, while still containing the same amount of chemicals! This is a practice known as “green washing”— misleading marketing to make products appear green and healthy. For example, arsenic, uranium, mercury, and formaldehyde are all naturally occurring and poisonous. “All natural” and “green” isn’t necessarily nontoxic.
The solution? Cleaning without chemicals.
Make your own household cleaners using essential oils- like my favorite carpet deodorizer! It’s a simple, safe, effective alternative- not to mention extremely cost efficient! One 15 ml bottle of Young Living essential oil is about 250 drops, which means you can make your essential oil cleaning products for only a fraction of what is being sold in the stores.
It may not be possible to avoid ALL of the toxins in our lives, but there are plenty of ways to significantly reduce our family’s exposure through simple lifestyle changes.
Thieves, a blend of Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, and Eucalyptus, is one of the best oils for cleaning. If you still want the convenience of grabbing a bottle from the cabinet, there is also an entire line of Thieves household and personal care items. The Thieves household cleaner is an all-purpose cleaner formulated with 100% plant and mineral based ingredients. It gets out tough stains and problem areas in the home without harsh or abrasive cleaners. It is biodegradable and complies with EPA standards.
Print this out and put it on your refrigerator for easy reference. It’s time to get started on spring cleaning, starting with the cleaning supply cabinet!
If you have any questions or would like to find out how to get started using essential oils, please let me know!